The Stony Brook softball team headed into its season opener unsure who would replace Melissa Rahrich as the program’s resident power hitter. By the time catcher Corinne Badger hit her sixth home run of the weekend, they had their answer.
Badger, a junior who started just eight games last year, had 11 RBIs in 12 at-bats to power the Seawolves to a 4-1 performance at the Florida International University (FIU) Invitational this Friday through Sunday. Each of her six hits were home runs, including a three-run walk-off to seal a 4-3 win over Brown. She finished with a .500/.571/2.000 slash line.
Stony Brook also beat Drexel, FIU and South Dakota but dropped its rematch with South Dakota. The Seawolves outscored their opponents 23-11, with the roster outside of Badger combining for 10 RBIs.
Stony Brook won its first game 5-3 against Drexel behind two home runs from Badger and a tie-breaking single by pinch hitter Catherine Anne Kupinski in the sixth inning.
Dawn Bodrug struck out eight but allowed seven hits, the most she has ever given up while pitching a complete game.
Badger hit a solo home run to open the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, but Drexel shortstop Jackie Masone answered with a homer in the fourth that put Drexel up 2-1.
Badger’s second home run came in the fourth inning and drove in left fielder Julianna Sanzone. Another Drexel home run tied the game, but Kupinski’s two-run shot up the middle with two outs sealed the win. It was the second hit and first RBIs of Kupinski’s career.
The Seawolves returned for the nightcap with a convincing 6-2 win over tournament hosts FIU.
Badger’s three-run home run in the first inning set the tone for the whole game. She added another homer in the fifth, after a second inning in which shortstop Nicole McCarvill stole home and designated hitter Kyra McFarland hit an RBI triple.
Pitcher Shelbi Denman went the distance and struck out six batters. The only runs FIU scored were unearned; they came in the seventh inning after a throwing error by Badger allowed two Panthers runners to reach home.
Center fielder Alicia Orcoso went 2-for-4 and scored a run on Badger’s first home run.
“We put together excellent pitching, a productive offense and solid defense to play really well today. Both wins were a real team effort,” head coach Megan T. Bryant said in a postgame press release.
Badger was 0-for-4 Saturday morning against South Dakota, but the Seawolves still won 7-0 in their most complete game of the weekend. South Dakota had scored at least two runs in all of its 14 games this season and had never lost by more than one run.
Bodrug recorded her first shutout of the year without relying on her trademark sky-high strikeout rate. She fanned just five batters, a career low while pitching a complete game, but drew groundouts from nearly every batter to allow just two hits and walk two.
Stony Brook had already throttled South Dakota by the time center fielder Lindsey Osmer hit a solo home run in the seventh inning. Osmer opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first, and Stony Brook also scored in the second and sixth innings. The Coyotes went through three pitchers trying to stop the Seawolves.
“We played an excellent and complete game to win the first one today against a tough South Dakota team,” Bryant said.
The nightcap against Brown featured Badger’s walk-off homer in a game she was not even supposed to play in.
Down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh with Badger out of the lineup, Kupinski and second baseman Brooke Dye drew walks to put the tying runs on base.
Badger entered the game to pinch hit for catcher Emily Reinstein and promptly crushed a home run to left field on a 1-0 count. She began celebrating with her teammates as soon as the ball left her bat.
“In game two, we struggled offensively to get anything going,” Bryant said. “The two walks in the bottom of the seventh were key to get us started and Corinne came off the bench and clutched up. She is off to an incredible start this season.”
The Seawolves’ final game was a 3-1 loss to South Dakota. Badger hit a home run in the seventh inning for Stony Brook’s only run.
Denman struggled early on as she allowed a walk, a single and a bunt in the Coyotes’ first three at-bats to put Stony Brook behind 1-0. A walk and two consecutive doubles in the second inning put South Dakota up 3-0.
Denman allowed only two more hits after the second inning, but Stony Brook never had more than two baserunners in an inning.
The Seawolves now sit at 4-1 or better for the third consecutive year. They will head west next weekend for a five-game series at the San Diego Classic.